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Evaluate Your Luggage Before You Buy!

How these 8 steps will help you make the correct investment in Luggage with worry free travel and luggage that meets your expectations. Yes investment in Luggage is a long-term purchase that will be around longer than your automobile.

Step #1: Can lightweight luggage be too light? Don’t let the lightweight selling point affect your purchasing decision. Most luggage weighs within 2 lbs. of each other and when it comes down to it, 48 lbs. feels just as heavy as 50 lbs. when packed, unless your arms have built in scales. Each pound of weight reduction is an extremely significant amount of durability reduction. Luggage with wheels and telescoping handles require a reliable frame and construction as the foundation. Some lightweight or partial frames are failure prone and compromise durability and reliability. The stronger your frame the more likely your new luggage will survive years of rough handling. Premium luggage utilizes space-age composites that combine lightweight with strength and rigidity.

Step #2: Your luggage needs to be “thick-skinned” to resist abrasion, water, stains and tearing. A very common term used for luggage material is Ballistic Nylon. Do not be misled by this term. Ballistic is simply a 2 x 2 basket weave, not a specification. Tip: Stay away from polyester materials if you are a frequent flyer and shop in the 100% Nylon arena. Nylon varies in quality so finding luggage with a high grade of nylon material is also important. Look for Duramax nylons to insure the luggage is utilizing a higher grade of nylon that will increase the ultimate durability and life of your luggage.

Step #3: Will the zippers stay zipped? What good is the luggage if it doesn’t stay closed? How often have you encountered a broken zipper pull? One of the quickest ways to judge luggage quality is to check the brand of the zipper. Look for the YKK brand, the best made zippers in the world. To go one step further try to find luggage using YKK “Unbreakable” zipper pulls. The zipper pull is the most prone to causing a defect on any luggage. YKK being the best and then the “Unbreakable” zipper pulls take it a step further to help reduce zipper failure or breakage.

Step #4: Wheels and handles are “at risk” components. Are the wheels equipped with lifetime sealed, carbon-steel ball-bearings? Are the handles and wheels mounted to the case with screws and bolts through solid framing? Most manufacturers use rivets for attaching and only partially mount handles and wheels to framing, the balance of the mounting is simply through the fabric. Stay away from the imitation screws which are really rivets, this is clearly deception by a manufacturer hiding something and trying to show the perception of high quality.

Step #5: Ease of self-service reduces the loss of use of your luggage. Sometimes a manufacturer makes an effort to make your luggage as self-serviceable as possible. This reduces down time and the loss of use of your luggage. Check to see how easy the manufacturer has made it for the somewhat handy person to repair their own luggage should something get damaged during or after travel. Are the wheels easy to replace? Is the retractable handle system easy to replace? Aside from zipper pulls, these are the 2 highest frequencies of repair items on luggage. These are all questions that with the right answers (YES) help to make the relationship between you and the brand of luggage you purchase an enjoyable one.

Step #6: Poorly sewn seams are guaranteed to fail. Tighter stitching makes for stronger seams, only the highest level manufacturers stitch above 5 stitches per inch. Add double-stitching for even stronger seams. Nylon thread is substantially stronger than polyester thread. Very few luggage manufacturers use nylon thread and even fewer double-stitch their seams.

Step #7: Travel is much less of a chore if there is “organization”, and wrinkle resistant features are a must. Look for garment carriers that are actually useful and have features that help reduce wrinkles. A full length garment carrier is a perfect feature to pack your hanging garments into and will help to reduce wrinkles during your travels. Look for features like padded roll-bars to help reduce the creasing in the folds. This is just another sign of a manufacturer going the extra mile to reduce aggravation during your travel.

Step #8: Last but not least, Confidence in your investment sure gives you peace of mind. Check to see if your product is backed by a warranty that is commensurate with the level of confidence that the manufacturer has in their product and their desire to maintain their relationship with you, the customer. Most damage happens between the time you check your luggage and the time you get it off the luggage claim conveyor. Doesn’t it make sense to purchase luggage from a manufacturer that includes that period of time in their warranty? Look for luggage that includes common carrier damage in their warranty on top of the typical manufacturer’s defects in parts material and workmanship. Just to be clear; any consumer product, including luggage has a life. Once the product wears out and the life of the product has been maximized it is time to purchase new luggage. One other note; the common carriers will continue to damage luggage if nothing is done about it. Always make a claim with the common carrier for damage to your luggage prior to leaving the airport. If this happens enough ultimately they will start taking better care of checked baggage. If the damage to your luggage went unnoticed at the airport, and you made the effort to file a claim, but the airlines would not fulfill the claim, then revert to the manufacturer for warranty support, if they cover damage caused by a common carrier.

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten." Ben Franklin